Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Child Custody and Parental Relocation

Yesterday, in Smith v. McDonald, the SJC decided a case in which an unmarried mother moved out of state with her child before paternity was adjudicated, and without the permission of the putative father.  The court held:
Permission to relocate, however, is not required when a child has only one legal parent. Such is the case for a nonmarital child prior to any proceedings to determine paternity or allocate custodial rights. When the paternity of a nonmarital child has not yet been established pursuant to G.L. c. 209C, § 2, the mother is the child's only parent. The putative biological father has no legal rights that need to be protected by the court, and the mother may relocate freely with the child.
Other cases on relocation in different circumstances can be found at our Law About Child Custody: Moving Away.